23 June 1923|
|Died||23 June 1945
Cause of death
|Occupation||Laborer, Italian resistance member|
|Portrait of Giuseppina Tuissi at itwiki|
Giuseppina Tuissi, better known as Gianna (also La Staffetta Gianna) was an Italian communist and partisan during World War II, part of the 52nd Brigata Garibaldi "Luigi Clerici". From September 1944 she was the collaborator of the partisan Luigi Canali (known as the captain Neri) and, with him, had an important role in the during the arrest and the execution of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci.
Giuseppina was born in 1923 in Abbiategrasso, in the Province of Milan, but lived and worked as laborer in Baggio, a suburb of Milan. In 1943 she started her activity of partisan courier, using the pseudonym "Gianna". On 6 January 1945 she was arrested with Luigi Canali in Lezzeno by the members of the XI Black Brigade "Cesare Rodini" and tortured for 23 days. After this period she was transferred to the SS headquarter in Monza by the initiative of a Gestapo officer, the captain Vernig, moved to pity for her conditions and impressed for her bravery. On March 12 she was released. Refusing an escape route to Switzerland, Gianna continued participating to the partisan struggle in northern Lombardy. She and Neri were present during the arrest of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci, on 27 April near Dongo; and to their execution, the day after, in Giulino.
Suspected of betrayal, to have revealed some names of partisans during her detention, she was arrested in Baggio on April 29 and detained until May 9, inquired by Pietro Vergani, regional commander of the Garibaldi Brigades and PCI member. During the detention she become aware of the death of Luigi Canali, executed by a partisan tribunal.
At the end of May 1945 she come in Milan with Alice Canali, the sister of Luigi, to know more about his death. Despite threats, Gianna continues to ask questions threatening to reveal what she learned. In June she also met Ferruccio Lanfranchi, editor of the Corriere d'Informazione, that is investigating on the death of Mussolini. Feeling abandoned by the comrades of her party, Gianna disappeared on 23 June 1945, in the day of her 22nd birthday. Is presumed she was killed and his body thrown into the Lake of Como near Cernobbio.
Her death, the one of Neri and other partisans in the late spring of 1945, represents an unresolved mystery of the Italian resistance history. In 1957 Dante Gorreri, PCI secretary of Como, and Pietro Vergani, were charged for the murder as instigators; Dionisio Gambaruto and Maurizio Bernasconi as executors. The trail, held in Padua, did not end for a series of procedural impediments.
- Fabio Andriola: "Appuntamento sul lago". Milan, SugarCo, 1996. ISBN 88-7198-022-0
- Giorgio Cavalleri: "Ombre sul Lago" Varese, Arterigere , 2007. ISBN 88-89666-21-8
- Giorgio Cavalleri and Franco Giannantoni: "«Gianna» e «Neri» fra speculazioni e silenzi". Varese, Arterigere, 2002
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- Franco Giannantoni: "«Gianna» e «Neri»: vita e morte di due partigiani comunisti". Milan, Mursia, 1992. ISBN 88-425-1226-5
- Franco Giannantoni: "L'ombra degli americani sulla Resistenza al confine tra Italia e Svizzera". Varese, Arterigere, 2007. ISBN 88-89666-16-1
- Urbano Lazzaro: "Dongo: mezzo secolo di menzogne". Milan, Mondadori, 1993. ISBN 88-04-36762-8
- Vittorio Roncacci: "La calma apparente del lago. Como e il Comasco tra guerra e guerra civile 1940-1945". Varese, Macchione, 2003. ISBN 88-8340-164-6
- (Italian) The case of Gianna and Neri at ANPI website
- i.e. Gianna the Courier
- (Italian) Biographical infos at italoeuropeo.it
- (Italian) An article about the death of Mussolini
- (Italian) Biographical infos about Pietro Vergani at ANPI website
- (Italian) Summary of Ferruccio Lanfranchi main inquiries at the Order of Journalists of Lombardy website
- (Italian) Franco Giannantoni: "«Gianna» e «Neri»: vita e morte di due partigiani comunisti". Mursia, EAN 9788842512264
- (Italian) Cite book: F. Giannantoni: "L'ombra degli americani sulla Resistenza al confine tra Italia e Svizzera", page 237